Tamar Z. Semerjian
Tamar Z. Semerjian and Jodi H. Cohen
Viviane K. Namaste (2000) argues that trans-individuals have been culturally erased and rendered invisible. She contends that academics should begin to explore the realities of transgender individuals’ lives. Transgender identified athletes have begun to garner more media attention in recent years, particularly with the 2004 International Olympic Committee’s ruling allowing transgender athletes to participate in the Olympics. Despite this increasing media attention, there is a considerable lack of academic work focusing on the experiences of transgender athletes, as well as a paucity of any serious theoretical consideration of these experiences. The purpose of this paper is to present trans athletes’ narratives of their sport participation, with attention to how gender identity and performance was or was not a part of this participation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four trans identified athletes. The narratives of these athletes portray a way of thinking about gender as a category that is transmutable, unstable, and constantly written and rewritten through embodied performances. Queer theory will serve as the theoretical perspective used to analyze these narratives.
Tamar Z. Semerjian and Jennifer J. Waldron
This paper explores how feminism can be used in sport psychology research and the particular dilemmas that can present themselves when a feminist perspective is used within the framework of sport psychology. Both authors describe their personal entrées into various schools of feminism, the ways they incorporate feminist theory into their work, and the struggles they have encountered in using feminist approaches in a field that is not always open to feminist epistemology. This paper includes a description of several types of feminist thought. Both authors use feminist theory in research that concerns women at either end of the life span, specifically girls and older women, and the ways that members of these groups think about and relate to their bodies. While feminism has been an important, useful, and enlightening perspective and tool for both authors, it has also proven problematic within the context of sport psychology research. The dilemmas encountered are described as epistemological and methodological and discussed in the context of personal experiences from both authors.